Sep 16, 2021 – Day 1
Recently, I had a privilege of listening to Prof. Krishna Mohan Pandey from Banaras Hindu University. It was an online academic seminar (serious stuff!). No matter how technical his topic was, the prof. had a unique ‘desi’ way of articulating it. I guess Banaras does that to people. It makes them profoundly simple in style and simply profound in thoughts.
He narrated a funny anecdote which he heard first-hand from the boy-monk in the story. I felt like sharing it with my family here! I wish I could write this post in Hindi for some of the most beautiful things are beyond the scope of translation. Nevertheless, I shall try. Please bear with some Hindi words here and there as a gesture of respect for the culture of Uttar Pradesh.
In a village in Uttar Pradesh, there lived a boy. He belonged to an affluent family with lots of cows and buffaloes. As a teen, the boy was not so good in studies. So, one day, his father called him inside the cowshed and said,
“पढ़ाई लिखाई तो ना होगा तुमसे, लाट साहब! कम-से-कम काम कर लो थोड़ा। बुड़बक। गोबर उठाओ। मुंडी फोड़ देंगे सही से नहीं किया तो!”
Frustrated the boy obeyed his father. While picking up the cow dung, he was lost in his thoughts (and ironically, he ‘found’ himself in those very thoughts!), “Was I born for this? Am I destined to get my hands dirty in cow dung for the rest of my life? No! I will cheat my destiny. I will flee.” Thinking thus, the boy left his home to take sanyas.
He went to a temple in Ayodhya. The head priest was impressed by his courage and so he was initiated into Bramhacharya Deeksha. Having cheated his destiny, the boy, now an ordained bramhachaari, started to live in the ashram nearby the temple. Days and weeks and months went by. Life was good.
One day, one of the temple cows fell ill. The vet was called. Having grown up in a household with cows and buffaloes, the bramhachari knew that the vet wasn’t treating the cow properly. He asked the head priest to let him handle the matter. With the permission of his Guru, he treated the cow and in a few days, she was nursed back to health. Absolutely impressed by the bramhachari, the Guru said,
“बहुतई बढ़िया, बचुआ! खूब जियो! आज से मंदिर का गौशाला पूरा तुम देखोगे। जाओ, तनिक गोबर उठाके आँगन लीप डालो!”
And bang! With his hands deeply immersed in cow dung, the bramhachari was back on the path of his destiny.
There’s a poem titled, Mac Flecknoe, by John Dryden. It opens with the lines,
“All human things are subject to decay / And, when fate summons, monarchs must obey.”
It seems, chaahe kisi gali se bhi khisko, humans are bound to face Destiny’s Disco! 😂
What are your views on it? Can we alter or at least cheat our destiny? Or are we mere puppets in the hands of fate? 🙂
Be safe and soak in eternal bliss under His divine umbrella! Love and light!
1) “पढ़ाई लिखाई तो ना होगा तुमसे, लाट साहब! कम-से-कम काम कर लो थोड़ा। बुड़बक। गोबर उठाओ। मुंडी फोड़ देंगे सही से नहीं किया तो!”
Rough translation: You won’t ever be capable enough to study, my lord! At least, work a bit. Stupid. Pick up the cow dung. I will break your head if you don’t do the work properly.
2) “बहुतई बढ़िया, बचुआ! खूब जियो! आज से मंदिर का गौशाला पूरा तुम देखोगे। जाओ, तनिक गोबर उठाके आँगन लीप डालो!”
Rough translation: Excellent, my child! Live long! From today onwards, you will be responsible for the temple’s cowshed. Now, go. Pick the cow dung up and plaster the temple courtyard with it.
3) Bramhachari is an ordained celibate who hasn’t received the initiation for complete renunciation (as far as I know)
4) Sanyasi – an initiated renunciate.